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Issue #115 – Real Fake Newsletter

Menno van Doorn
June 13, 2023

Berlusconi’s Last Show: Stars, Scandals and Selfies at the Funeral of the Former Prime Minister

Milan, the city known for its dynamism and beautiful architecture, is today the scene of a large-scale and emotionally charged event. In the heart of the city, at the imposing Duomo, the state funeral of Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian Prime Minister, will take place.

We spot striking figures among the assembled crowd: influencers in their most striking outfits, smartphones at the ready. They are looking for the perfect image, a selfie with Berlusconi’s gold-covered coffin, as a reminder of this historic day.

The ceremony attracts dignitaries and international guests. Noteworthy are the presence of Elon Musk and Donald Trump, who underline the international attention and importance of this event. Vladimir Putin, an unexpected guest, creates a diplomatic ripple that heightens the tension of the day.

Meanwhile, a journalist from TG5 battles her emotions during the live broadcast of the ceremony, an illustration of the deep feelings this day evokes. Nearby, a group of neo-fascists, mourning the man who, they say, re-legitimized fascism in Italy.

However, not everyone mourns on this day. Some have chosen to celebrate, open the ‘good bottle’ and toast to life. A group of demonstrators in clown costumes attracts attention. Their presence and the ensuing tumult cause division among those present.

Out of sight of the cathedral, a procession moves towards the ceremony. But the police do not allow them to continue, and the air around Piazza Duomo fills with tear gas.

Among the assembled crowd are also fans of AC Milan, faithful in their team colours. They are here to commemorate the man who was once president of their beloved football club.

At the end of this long and emotional day, the crowds slowly move away from the square, which a few hours ago was bustling with activity. The state funeral of Silvio Berlusconi was not only an event that will be remembered for a long time, but also a moment that raises questions about the role of the media, the influence of images and the nature of information in an age of artificial intelligence. What does ‘truth’ mean in this new world and what does our future look like?

The images above were generated in early April 2023 using the Midjourney image generator by Claudio Riccio, a creative strategist. The accompanying article – in the style of a newspaper article – was written by me with the help of ChatGPT.

About the author

Director and Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Menno is Director of the Sogeti Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT). He mixes personal life experiences with the findings of the 19 years of research done at the VINT Research Institute. Menno has co-authored many books on the impact of new technology on business and society.


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